A business service is an activity that supports a company’s operations but does not produce a tangible product. Typically, these activities help make operations more efficient or productive, and can include administrative services, warehousing and distribution, staffing services, security services and shipping services. Almost every business requires these services in some form or another. There are three main categories of business services: business-to-business, business-to-consumer and personal services.
The largest segment of the business services industry is professional and business services, which includes occupations like lawyers, accountants, architects and engineers. This sector represents about 11% of the EU economy. Other large sectors include financial services, information technology and facility management. While these sectors are important, the growth potential of business services is likely to come from new types of business services that combine different types of products and services to provide innovative solutions.
Most businesses require insurance services, which provide protection against accidents and losses. Insurance companies can also offer financial planning and advice to clients. Business services also include translation and interpretation services, which allow companies to communicate with a broader range of customers. These services are especially important in globalized economies, where there is a need to understand diverse cultures and languages.
Many business services are essential to keeping workplaces functioning smoothly and efficiently. Delivery services are a common business service that enables companies to receive supplies without having to travel to the store. Warehouse and distribution services keep inventory safe and organized, while staffing and administrative services provide support functions for the entire organization. Utility services supply companies with necessary energy and water for the workplace, which allows employees to focus on work.
While some business services are necessary for all businesses, others provide a more specific benefit to individual employees. For example, if a company provides a gym on its premises, it can encourage employees to stay healthy and maintain a good work-life balance. Employees may also benefit from childcare or transportation services that are offered at the office, which helps them save time and money.
The success of a service business depends on four critical areas: the design of its processes, the quality of its people, its physical environment and the customer’s perception of value. Sophisticated managers are beginning to recognize that these four aspects of service design must be aligned in order for a business to be successful. In addition, these four elements are inherently interconnected, making it difficult to identify best practices within each area.